Zagat vs. Menupages
There a right way to do things online and a wrong way.
Menupages.com does things the right way.
Zagat.com does things the wrong way.
I could go on all day on this riff, but I'll just give you a few of my reasons for this assertion.
When you search Zagat.com, you aren't searching all of Zagat.com, you are just searching those listings that they've actually got full data on. The new restaurants? They aren't in the search results. You have to go drill down a directory of 10-20 pages to find the new place. That's nuts. I know a lot about the old restaurants. It's the new ones I am usually going to find information on in the first place!
You can't add a comment directly on the Zagat site. You have to participate in a survey. That means that sometime way out in the future your comments might get onto the site, but they may not.
Zagat.com is a subscription service. So they get hardly any traffic. The amount of money they could potentially make with paid search, contextual, behavioral and other ad targeting systems is way more money than they'll ever make with the subscription model.
The Gotham Gal and I have used Zagat for so long I can't remember when we started. She switched 6 months ago. It took me longer to make the move. But I'm done with Zagat and I am not going back.